The secret to a perfect Valentine’s day: As told by Linfield professors


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Laney Green, Life & Culture Editor

For some, Valentine’s Day might mean flowers, chocolate, and expensive dates. For others, it might just be another day of the week. Regardless of your personal stance on the holiday, it still comes around once a year. Linfield University professors from various departments shared their opinions, traditions and tips to celebrate, or survive, the holiday. 

“I feel like it’s a little contrived for the Hallmark and candy industry, but I love a holiday so I’ll celebrate anyway,” said Toni Ketrenos, instructional associate and wine studies department coordinator. 

Since this Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, it was conclusive that the holiday will look like an average day, with perhaps a card and chocolates. Most of the professors agreed that for them the holiday doesn’t have to be about putting together an elaborate celebration. 

“I think it’s more about time than the gift or the event,” Ketrenos said. “I think it’s finding that special way to spend time together… Whether it’s with a romantic interest or ‘Galentine’s’ Day.”

(Galentine’s Day is the holiday, coined by the sitcom Parks and Recreation that celebrates female friendships, as opposed to romantic relationships).

Professor of chemistry Brian Gilbert highlighted the importance of not overextending yourself. 

“[Don’t] worry about it,” Gilbert said. “Write a letter to each other, like Pride and Prejudice? No big production.”

Jeremy Weisz, associate biology professor, explained that the day isn’t sacred to him either. 

“I’m married and will celebrate it with my wife, otherwise I’m somewhat indifferent to it,” Weisz said. “We will exchange cards in the morning and at some point tomorrow I will get her flowers, and that’s about it.”

While great advice, it might not suffice the needs of all college students. Especially not those looking to impress a potential partner or who crave a little something extra for the occasion. 

“The tradition I think of is that my husband cooks me a fancy meal,” said Jennifer Rauch, professor and department chair of the journalism and media studies program. “He likes to cook, I also cook, but for some reason we just have this understanding that on Valentine’s Day he’s going to cook for me.” 

To that end, Rauch also added that it isn’t necessarily Valentine’s Day that’s important to her or her husband, claiming that they celebrate their love everyday. 

“My husband and I actually celebrate not only our anniversary every year, but every month we celebrate the day of our anniversary and the day that we met,” Rauch said. 

For those finding themselves without a partner or relationship to commemorate the day with, celebratory measures can be taken into your own hands.

“When I was a Linfield student, my roommate and I both decided that we would have an anti-Valentine’s day party,” Ketrenos said. “We invited all of our single friends, we got some Slasher horror films and decided to have some super garlicky pasta– all the things you wouldn’t do on a date.”

Whether you’re looking to spoil a loved one, sit down for quality time or even throw a party, just remember that Valentine’s Day can matter as little or as much as you want it to. 

“It’s a day, pretty much like any other day,” Gilbert said. “If you love someone, you let them know everyday.”